In the last couple of weeks we’ve had a lot of snow here, the first proper snow of the winter, and a lot more than I captured in the photo of our town hall above. Aside from all fears I have about driving in it, it is beautiful. It’s been a few inches deep and powdery. And it just seems to muffle the world a little. It’s also been pretty cold for a few weeks - for over a week it didn’t get above zero degrees, and there were days when the temperature was below minus fifteen. I experienced the coldest temperatures since I moved here, and learnt that when you walk to youth group in minus twenty your headphone cord freezes.
This weather means that it takes a little longer to get somewhere. And you need to uncover your car in the morning. It makes everything look beautiful, even if sometimes you want to look out at it, rather than being in it.
On the first Tuesday morning in January we started our work year at a “Super Good Morning” meeting, meaning that those who serve with JV in Czech and those who live in Czech and serve with JV internationally all met together. We met in our conference centre pictured above - the snow definitely made it look pretty, although it meant we had to park at the bottom of the hill and walk up!
The theme of our time was shalom, the peace God gives us. It was so good to gather together, surrounded by snowy trees and mountains, and seek God together. Although I’ve now taken down my Christmas decorations around my flat, I do not want to forget that the baby who came was called the Prince of Peace.
During our worship time Bara painted this incredible picture of what she sees peace as - that although there might be chaos around us, and even sometimes within us, we can know peace.
The devotional book I’m using this year has me looking at the Greek of a different verse each day and January 1st looked at the first part of Colossians 3:15 - “let the peace of God rule in your hearts”. The word rule was used for referees or umpires in ancient times. So the verse could be translated as
Let the peace of God be the referee of your hearts.
Let the peace of God govern your hearts.
As I enter 2017 I want that to be true of this whole year. There are some things I am so excited about this year, and some things that I am worried about, and I’m sure there is a lot I have no idea about that is on the horizon. But God is faithful and good, and I want His peace to be the referee of my heart, so that I don’t make decisions out of anxiety or fear, but out of His character and goodness.